Hate for the hippie runs strong in American culture. In 1965, while Ronald Wilson Reagan (666) was governor of California, he famously derided the culture as made up of people who “dress like Tarzan, have hair like Jane, and smell like Cheetah.” That same year, kids in Reagan’s own state, many of them ‘hippies’ in the eyes of the conservative establishment, were cruising on wooden planks and crude skates, pumping turns and hopping over elevated broomsticks. Thus the “hippie jump” was born, and it’s been with us for better and worse since.
In 2012, Clyde Singleton, one of skateboarding’s preeminent shit-talkers, ranked the hippie jump on his list of the ten worst tricks in skateboarding. The name is as bad as the act for Cylde – the filthy connotation of “hippie” ruining any chance of him appreciating one of skateboarding’s staples. Sure, the hippie jump can be dumb and easy, it’s often the first “trick” people learn on a skateboard. Shit, even longboarders and Penny dweebs can do them! But just as the hippie movement had its Altamont and as a bad LSD experience has its floating face of Satan, the hippie jump also has its dark side. A dangling toe can spell disaster for a would be hippie, just ask Shawn Powers.
So don’t write off the hippie jump just yet. The trick’s survived half-a-century and continues to occasionally be executed in exciting ways. All said, here’s a list of the ten trippiest hippie jumps ever done. Tune in, turn on, and hop over.
Editor’s note: This list ignores that new generation of hippie jump, the hipster jump™, where ollies, flips, and shuvs are thrown into the mix.
10. Omar Salazar – First Love
Omar Salazar may be the greatest hippie jump activist in modern skateboarding. This line from his part in Transworld’s First Love video perfectly illustrates how stylish the thing can be done. Going his usual mach-10, Omar uses a tall sign into an embankment as the perfect excuse to switch stance mid-line. Legend has it that the hippies were the ones to come up with the catchphrase “Speed Kills.” Fortunately Omar never got the message.
9. Pat Galloway – Spam Video
Kinda like living in a hippie commune, this one looks way easier than it actually is. PG pops a nollie 180 down a set then uses the compression from his landing to set up for a quick switch hippie jump over a perilously close bench.
8. Jeff Stevens – A Happy Medium 3
Jeff Stevens embodies the hippie obsession on originality more so than most name-brand professionals, so naturally, he’s a shameless hippie jumper. He even rides a board that looks like it was designed for the trick – the flat nose giving him that little extra leeway necessary to propel his board beneath obstacles. Here, he takes one beneath a chain and into a 5-0 on a ledge, hippie grinding like your parents at a Grateful Dead show.
7. Omar Salazar – Nothing but the Truth
Ending your part on a hippie jump is a risky move, almost as risky as performing the trick itself. But Omar Salazar is probably too busy tail-scraping and excitedly shouting to hear the haters. Adding another example of how to hippie jump to his trickography, Omar threads the needle in this high-velocity hippie jump off a set and through a guardrail. Whoooooo!
6. Eli Reed – UXA: The Chase
By rule, hippies are anti-establishment, and nothing represents The Man more than a dude with a badge. Eli Reed, who’s hippie jumped over Playboy bunnies and picnic tables the long way, takes this sentiment to heart in this random clip for UXA, which ends with him hurdling over the hood of an NYPD cruiser.
5. Zered Bassett – Outliers
Zered Bassett is low-key the best skater out. He consistently does the unimaginable (usually switch) at spots that have been skated by everyone you thought was better than him. He’s not much of a traditional hippie with his flat-billed hats and all, but this 5050 hippie jump he does at this popular NYC ledge makes him an honorary member of team tie-dye.
4. Alex Olson – Pretty Sweet
Thomas Pynchon published his post-modern novel The Crying of Lot 49 in 1966, during the earliest iterations of the hippie jump. In it, the reader learns of two secret, underground mail services that exist as alternatives to the government controlled (and thereby corrupt) US Postal Service. No word on whether Alex Olson was considering the literary and historical parallels when he performed this hippie jump over the USPS mailbox, but either way, AO’s got mad hops.
3. Lance Mountain – Extremely Sorry
Lance Mountain was born in 1964, a year before Nixon called hippies hairy smelly Neanderthals, and right when skateboarding started to have its own culture unique from surfing. The hippie jump was one of the first moves that differentiated the two activities. Forty-five years later, Lance combines the best of both worlds in this smooth backside carve hippie jump over the ladder of his backyard pool.
2. Alex Olson – Paych or W-E
AO may be the least “hippie” of the prevalent hippie jumpers in action, which is strange considering how often and how incredibly he does the trick. In this clip filmed in a SoCal schoolyard, Olson tucks and ducks his way through the narrow gap between the top and bottom of a volleyball net. Like taking a hit of brown acid at Woodstock, the danger factor here is incredibly high, but the trip is all his, so go DJ!
1. Tom Penny – Videoradio
Is this real, or is this really real? Going just by the levels of ingested psychedelics it could be reasonably argued that Tom Penny is the most far-out skater of all time. But this trick is really something mystical. Watch as his board shifts seemingly on its own accord as Penny gracefully twirls a full rotation above it. Check the style of the power slide spin out when he returns to Earth. A hippie jump has never been trippier.